161. The Man


Dear Friends:

The other day I was standing on a bridge just gazing, clearing my thoughts, not really thinking nor comprehending. People going back and forth, going to work, shopping and doing whatever it is that they do, swinging their bags to and fro. Cars, taxis, police vehicles and buses rolling along the streets. Just another day in a downtown.

As I was mindlessly staring something was nagging my consciousness. I started staring into the crowds and was watching them going around a man…

He was not well dressed. He was in a raggedy T-shirt, old sneakers and ratty pants. His hair was disheveled, eyes were cast down. He was taking about twenty steps forward then going back a few steps, and staring at the ground. He kept repeating this process while going down the sidewalk and even repeated the staring portion in the middle of the cross walk.

I watched yellow shirted police officers on their bicycles observe this man and turn away. I watched shoppers make a wide berth around him, and other business people do their “power walks” right on by him with out even a side glance.

It made me sad that no one wanted to look at this man. Looking at him might have drawn a feeling of compassion or a thought that something was wrong with a society that allows something like this to go on? That our law enforcement would not check on the well being of this man is also something I have to question.

I was too far away to aid this man as I was above him at a distance. The reason  that I noticed this man from afar was that the people were parting for him,like Moses parting the Red Sea, but not stopping for this man . Are we now just immune to suffering like this in our own country that pain has to be broadcast on television from far away lands to have an impact on our souls? These were my thoughts that day on the bridge.   Undoubtedly, we can  walk right around suffering on our streets and not want to feel or look at it.

Sometimes I wonder ~ if we feel, if we look, are we bothered by the fact that we don’t help those in need? So if we do not look, then our consciences are not bothered, thus we can continue doing nothing?

There are many pathways into homelessness, but few pathways out for those that are there.



1 Response to “161. The Man”

  1. June 30, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    It is indeed sad, that in our nation – one whose ideal is based on the premise that “… all men are created equal,” we seem all to ready to avert our eyes to the plight of those in need of our compassion. What is worse, is that even we are moved by compassion, we seem paralyzed to actually “get involved.”

    If we want to actually have an impact on reducing the numbers of homeless in our society, we must become a nation who is less talk and more action.

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